A 20 year-old Muslim convert from Ohio has been arrested for plotting a deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.
Christopher Lee Cornell was arrested on Wednesday for attempting to kill a government official and possession of a firearm in furtherance of attempted crime of violence. The young man allegedly planned to detonate pipe bombs in the U.S. Capitol Building, then open fire on people fleeing.
He was arrested early Wednesday morning at a gun shop called the Point Blank Store, where he bought two M-15 semi-automatic rifles.
Cornell, who also goes by the name Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, first showed up on the FBI’s radar a few months ago when he sent out a tweet supporting violent “jihad.” Officials then launched an online investigation, and found that Cornell was active in backing ISIS on the internet. He also exchanged messages with an undercover informant about his plans to launch an ISIS attack on U.S. soil.
“I believe that we should just wage jihad under our own orders and plan attacks and everything,’ Cornell allegedly wrote in August. “I believe we should meet up and make our own group in alliance with the Islamic State here and plan operations ourselves.”
He told the informant that while he didn’t have support from a specific group to conduct the attack, “we already got a thumbs up from the Brothers over there and Anwar al Awlaki before his martyrdom and many others.”
Awlaki was an American Imam who was killed by a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
The FBI says that Cornell’s plans were in their early stages, and that he was going to carry out the attack in December of 2015.
Hours after Cornell’s arrest, the FBI released the following statement:
“The alleged activities of Cornell highlight the continued interest of U.S.-based violent extremists to support designated foreign terrorist organizations overseas, such as ISIL, by committing terrorist acts in the United States. Terrorist group members and supporters will almost certainly continue to use social media platforms to disseminate English language violent extremist messages.”
Cornell’s family was stunned by his arrest. His father, John Cornell, called his son a “Mama’s boy” and a “homebody” who spent most of his time alone. He claims his son only became interested in Islam two months ago, which is directly contradicted by the FBI’s online evidence.
H/T: Daily Mail